In the 1960s, Dominga Roxas Sumulong filed a petition for administrative reconstitution of transfer certificate title (TCT) No. 56809 with a certified photocopy of a purported owner’s duplicate of the title as basis.
The Land Registration Commission (LRC) allowed the reconstitution and the register of deeds of Quezon City proceeded with the same and issued TCT No. (56809) 113005 in the name of Dominga Roxas Sumulong, married to Teoderico Torres. (The LRC was the predecessor of the Land Registration Authority [LRA].)
After reconstitution, the register of deeds proceeded with the registration of various transactions and the issuance of new TCTs.
(The LRA found that the owner’s duplicate copy used for the reconstitution of TCT No. 56809 was a forgery and concluded that the title reconstituted from it—TCT (56809)113005—was “irregularly issued.” The LRA said: “The origin being spurious, all the titles that emanated therefrom are likewise spurious.”)
Sumulong sold several lots with a total area of 431,041 square meters or 43.1 hectares, covered by TCT No. (56809) 113005, to spouses Manuel and Rosalina Aliño. These are Lot No. 644, Lot No. 648, Lot No. 682, Lot No. 685, Lot No. 686, Lot No. 687 and Lot No. 690, all located within the Piedad Estate in Quezon City.
The Aliños paid P290,000 and executed a promissory note for the remaining balance of P4,020,420 payable in five years. Then they made Sumulong execute a deed of sale to convey to them the seven lots.
Later, they allegedly subdivided Lot No. 644 into eight lots, and of these, sold the subdivided Lots Nos. 644-A, 644-B, 644-F and 644-G as well as 648, 682 and 690, a total of seven lots, to Multi-Commercial and Realty Corp.
In October 1990, Wilfredo Torres filed a complaint in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for specific performance, cancellation of TCTs and reconveyance, alleging that the Aliños had failed to pay the balance.
In the case docketed as Civil Case No. Q-90-7130, the respondents were the Aliños, Investment Underwriter Corp. and the register of deeds. It was later amended to include Ramon Navarro and the Multi-Commercial and Realty Corp.
Litigated were the seven lots sold to Multi-Commercial and Realty Corp., which in turn mortgaged them to Investment and Underwriting Corp. of the Philippines.
In June 1996, the court ruled in favor of Torres and ordered the cancellation of the TCTs in the name of the Aliños, and reconveyed these to Torres. This became final and executory in September 1997.
To get the TCTs finally canceled, Torres filed in November 2000 a petition for the reconstitution of the original copies of TCT Nos. 162418, 162419, 162423, 162424, 117142, 117143 and 117147, and the issuance of the owner’s duplicate copies of these TCTs. He alleged that the original copies filed in the register of deeds were destroyed when a fire hit Quezon City Hall in June 1988.
This was docketed as LRC Case No. Q13653(00).
In June 2006, the court granted the petition and ordered the reconstitution of the burned TCTs, and their cancellation, and the issuance of new ones in Torres’ name.
(The LRA said that the court simply presumed the “genuineness and authenticity” of these titles, and should have resolved this in the earlier case. In August 2006, the LRA asked then Solicitor General Eduardo Nachura to seek the dismissal of the reconstitution petition by Torres. No other action was taken.)
In November 2010, the court granted Torres’ motion for the revival of judgment and his prayer for a writ of possession. On May 26 this year, the court ordered the city assessor’s office to transfer the tax declarations encompassed by the new TCTs in Torres’ name.
The new titles covered the seven lots that the Aliños sold to Multi-Commercial and Realty Corp., consisting of 237,514 square meters, or 23.75 hectares.
Sources: Land Registration Authority and court records